Forests are a source of life: they provide food, water, shelter, timber, bamboo, rattan, fiber and medical drugs. They also provide clean air, deliver appropriate rains for agriculture, prevent landslides and soil erosion that silt up estuaries and smother sensitive marine life in many parts of the tropics.
Forests are biodiversity’s haven. According to World Bank estimates, more than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood and some 300 million live in them. In addition, forests provide habitats to about two thirds of all species on earth, and deforestation of closed tropical rainforests can account for biodiversity loss of as many as 100 species a day.
Notwithstanding, forests have been destroyed mercilessly – a terrible sin against nature and a serious mortgage of our common future.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that, every year, 130,000 sq. km.of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation. Conversion to agricultural land, unsustainable harvesting of timber, unsound land management practices, creation of human settlements and production of firewood and charcoal are the most common reasons for this loss of forested areas.
Forests are an integral part of global sustainable development and food security. They are an antidote against a series of global inter-related challenges that humanity faces: food shortages and rising food prices; soil erosion and inexorable expansion of deserts; climate change and increasing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming; breach in the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful radiation; population growth and increased demand on resources; and the lingering global financial crisis.
Vast regions of the planet are right now under the haunting specter of hunger, especially in Eastern Africa and Afghanistan. Soil erosion threatens food production. As agriculture becomes agribusiness, topsoil disappears. Forests can contribute to the creation of topsoil – the bedrock for agriculture – and to achieve food security.
Urbanization has made the rural world seem obsolete. Farming has been outmoded. Trees were replaced by buildings; the chirps of birds, by the sound of vehicles’ claxons; gardens, by supermarkets; manual work, by shopping; quietness by chaos. Children in big cities grow up with just a virtual contact with the natural world – some may have not even seen domestic animals nor gotten a firsthand experience of nature, with its sounds and smells.
We have been invited to buy, to consume, to waste, and to promote growth and prosperity. But what we really need is to forget speculation and return to the real economy-based on production, creation of jobs, sustainable development and respect for the environment.
The new generations are unsatisfied because they see no future beyond schooling. Indeed, there’s no future without a shift of values. Among them, we need to listen to Nature and give attention to forests.
The lost of the once abundant and rich forest cover, that is happening at an alarming rate, is a big threat to the Philippines: Because the forests, above many other functions, have a pivotal role in producing arable soil and retaining water.
In the 1990s, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines warned against an ecological debacle in the country should deforestation continued unabated. No one listened; it was business as usual. “Our natural forests have gone down from 17 million hectares in the early 1900s to less than 1 million hectares of primary natural forests today,” deplored Blas Tablaza, Jr., chief operating officer of the environmental group Haribon. ”The rate of destruction is very alarming; one day, the future Filipino generations may be deprived of natural resources.”
Forest recovery, through natural and artificial means, never coped with the destruction rate. (Sustainable Forest Management)
According to soil scientist, 58% of the country’s total land area is susceptible to erosion. For one, the magnitude of soil erosion in cultivated sloping areas has reached an alarming proportion.” deplored Angel C. Alcala, former secretary of DENR.
“No other soil phenomenon is more destructive worldwide than soil erosion.” written by Nyle C. Brady in his book, The Nature and Properties of Soils.
We have become alienated from nature and lost part of our capacity to contemplate God’s creation with wonder, and to care for and nurture it. We need a more ecological spirituality to reconcile us with the earth and its forests; to value quality of living over production and profit; to strive for self-reliance and self-sufficiency through gardening and farm work; to acquire a sober and earth-friendly lifestyle – “to live simply so that others might simply live.”
It’s not too late. Let’s all do what we can right now to support environmental causes. Embrace the principles of doing what is right and what is fair and support groups or businesses that do the same. An example of a business entity that do just that is Impressca Salad2Go owned and headed by Ms. Elizabeth Echano-Alfane.
To learn more about Impressca please visit my post http://raindeocampo.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/impressca-salads-healthy-choices-and-healthy-living/
Learn more and be more! Also like Impressca Salad2go on Facebook.